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Publisher's Summary

Two-time New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly opens up about his remarkable life, taking us inside 50 years of law enforcement leadership, offering chilling stories of terrorist plots after 9/11 and sharing his candid insights into the challenges and controversies cops face today.

The son of a milkman and a Macy's dressing-room checker, Ray Kelly grew up on New York City's Upper West Side: a middle-class neighborhood where Irish and Puerto Rican kids played stickball and tussled in the streets. He entered the police academy and served as a marine in Vietnam, living and fighting by the values that would carry him through a half century of leadership - justice, decisiveness, integrity, courage, and loyalty.

Kelly soared through the NYPD ranks in decades marked by poverty, drugs, civil unrest, and a murder rate that, at its peak, spiked to over 2,000 per year. Kelly came to be known as a tough leader, a fixer who could go into a troubled precinct and clean it up.

In the chaotic wake of the 9/11 attacks, newly elected mayor Michael Bloomberg tapped Kelly to be NYC's top cop once again. After a decade working with Interpol, serving as undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement, overseeing US Customs, and commanding an international police force in Haiti, Kelly understood that New York's security was synonymous with our national security. Believing that the city could not afford to rely solely on the feds, he succeeded in transforming the NYPD from a traditional police department into a resource-rich counterterrorism-and-intelligence force.

In this vital memoir, Kelly reveals the inside stories of his life in the hot seat of the capital of the world - from the terror plots that nearly brought a city to its knees to his dealings with politicians, including presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well as Mayors Rudolph Giuliani, Bloomberg, and Bill DeBlasio. He addresses criticisms and controversies like the so-called stop-question-and-frisk program and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and offers his insights into the challenges that have recently consumed our nation's police forces, even as the need for vigilance remains as acute as ever.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Ray Kelly (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 10-07-15

it's no secret

Ray Kelly lays out the steps he took and the department he led to keep the bad guys from winning the war. In a clear and understandable way, Mr. Kelly explains what he did and why he did it. The results speak for themselves. As always, having the author read the book is a added bonus.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A man of integrity, in a challenging World.

Interesting perspective on various aspects of US history, Terrorist, community policing, and current events. I really enjoyed the last chapter, where he summarizes, using the principals guiding him, on recent events (2015). Overall, an impressive story of one man's journey through the American experience. Would like to see a book on Leadership and management, from Ray Kelly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Expert insight....

Mr Kelly provides an in depth look and the inner workings of the NYC PD, the global war on terror, and modern issues facing police across the United States.

My only grovel would be his reading. While it is not necessarily bad there are multiple times through the book where he awkwardly stumbles over words or pauses that I feel they could have stopped and redone better.

Overall it's a great book with great POV experiences from an officer who has served his city and nation for over 40 years. Mr Kelly is a class act and extremely relatable to an average man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great man, great life story

Next time hire someone else to read it

Hearing Ray Kelly's voice tell his own story added some value but overall he might of wanted to hand it to a pro

Great book though. Really makes me hope he's our next mayor

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

I personally loved this book. Ray Kelly is a traditional, tough minded Irish man who knows how to roll his sleeves up, accept evidence, and get the job done. His good work is not done by airless rhetoric and speech, but rather, courageous service to his fellow man. Modern day Batman.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Let the Truth be told

All of the events that Ray has written about I have lived thru and his behind the scenes stories are awesome to the point you don't want to stop listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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historic and entertaining

the author really lets you into his life and insights while at the same time providing historical content and a good story. i really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in NYC, policing or just looking for a good read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great biography, marginal performance.

Have much respect for the talents of Commissioner Kelly. He is a great leader and public servant. One talent that he lacks is a narrator of an audible book. I highly recommend the book as an autobiographical example of strong leadership. Just be aware that the performance is sometimes difficult to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-20-15

Law and Order

Ray Kelly served as Police Commissioner of New York City longer than any top police officer in NYC history. Mugged in Central Park as a third-grader Kelly was sent on a life of fighting crime. Kelly tells about his early life, his time in the Marines serving in Viet Nam and joining the NYPD. He went to the police academy and rose through the ranks holding all the ranks. He tells of his education and obtaining his Doctor of Jurisprudence from St John’s Law School.

Kelly tells about when he first became Police Commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins during the crack plague and when murders in the City hit 2245 in 1990—three times the toll in 1967. Mr. Kelly devised the strategy; City Hall found the money for more police and the crime wave began to ebb. Kelly champions aggressive policing especially the tactic known as “stop-and-frisk”. Kelly tells of his challenges and accomplishments as Commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Much of the book tells how Kelly transformed the NYPD into an antiterrorism force; he created an intelligence division and a counter- terrorism bureau. He tells of the 16 terror plots against the City that were thwarted on his watch. Ray Kelly narrated his own book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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An excellent inside view of policing.

Where does Vigilance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Ray Kelly's biography is an extraordinary account of his life, especially of the years spent as Commissioner of New York City's police department. For those that are interested is New York's safest years, post 9/11, this a a riveting read.

What three words best describe Ray Kelly’s performance?

Ray Kelly is not a professional voice over performer. However, Ray Kelly's reading of the bio was authentic and I think this autobiography benefits from using his voice.